Makeup is not a “one size fits all” thing. Sure, there are a few general tips that tend to work for everyone, but if you really want to look your best, then you need to know what you’re working with first, and how to make your best features shine.

Face Shape

There are several different face shapes. For best results with blush, highlighter, and contour, you will need to determine which shape is yours.

Heart — The heart-shaped face features a wide forehead, high cheekbones, and a narrow or pointed chin. The angles of this face tend to be soft rather than sharp.

  • Blush: apple of cheek to ear
  • Highlighter: chin, center of forehead
  • Contour: temples, sides of cheeks, underneath chin

Round — Round faces are about as wide as they are tall, with the widest point at the cheeks. There is very little angularity with these types of faces.

  • Blush: apple of cheek to ear
  • Highlighter: chin, center of forehead
  • Contour: sides of temples and cheeks

Square/Rectangular — Square and rectangular faces feature a strong, square, angular jawline. Rectangular features are longer than square faces.

  • Blush: cheeks
  • Highlighter: center of forehead, chin
  • Contour: sides of temples and jaw

Oblong — The oblong face tends to be noticeably long, with about twice as much height as width. Some people with oblong features also have a prominent chin.

  • Blush: apples of cheeks
  • Highlighter: none
  • Contour: bottom of chin, upper hairline

Oval — The oval face doesn’t have any one particularly prominent feature. The forehead and cheekbones tend to be moderately wide and taper gently to the chin.

  • Blush: temple to apple of cheek
  • Highlighter: center of forehead, under eyes, chin
  • Contour: none

Not sure? See the chart here for a visual reference.

Eye Shape

There are several different eye shapes as well. For best results with eyeshadow and eyeliner, you will need to determine which shape is yours.

Monolid — No crease in the eyelid, and brow is not well defined.

  • Eyeshadow: darkest closest to the lash line, fading lighter as it reaches the brow
  • Eyeliner: thick and winged

Hooded — An extra layer of skin on the eyelid makes the lid appear smaller than it actually is.

  • Eyeshadow: create a new crease
  • Eyeliner: tightline

Almond — Symmetrical and slightly upswept at the outer corners.

  • Eyeshadow: smoky
  • Eyeliner: tightline, upper lid only

Round — Width and height of eyes is similar. White may be visible under iris.

  • Eyeshadow: blend outwards from light to dark, highlighting brow bone and inner corner
  • Eyeliner: winged

Deepset — Eyes appear to be set more deeply into the socket, creating a smaller lid.

  • Eyeshadow: nude or metallic
  • Eyeliner:

Protruding — Large, prominent eyelids.

  • Eyeshadow: smoky
  • Eyeliner: thin

Eyebrows

If your eyes are the artwork, then your eyebrows are like the frame. A frame can augment or detract from the piece that is being showcased, so you need to use the perfect frame. It can be tempting to go with the trends, since that’s what you’re probably seeing in beauty magazines and on YouTube makeup tutorials. But the fact is, like everything else in this article, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to doing your brows.

For this one, you will need to know your face shape.

Heart: Soft arch, fuller thickness

Round: Sharply angled arch, fuller thickness

Square: High arch, dramatic curve

Oval: Soft angle, fuller thickness

Oblong: Soft arch, straight curve

When filling and shaping your brows, remember: the goal is to look natural! Always use a shade that is as close as possible to the natural color of your brows, although blondes and redheads may want to go a touch darker. There are several ways to do this:

Brow pencil — The nice thing about using a brow pencil is that you can create short, straight lines to imitate the look of natural hair in areas where you’re a little sparse. The downside is that it tends to smudge easily.

Brow gel — The nice thing about brow gel makes your natural brows look automatically bigger and thicker, and offers a look that lasts all day long. The downside is that it’s only available in clear or tinted formulas, so you might not get precision application, and sparse browse may still look sparse or unnatural.

Brow henna — The nice thing about brow henna is that it actually tints your eyebrows with a natural dye that stains your skin, and brow henna can last for up to 4 weeks without reapplication. The downside is that for best results, you need to get it done by a professional.

Microblading — The nice thing about microblading is that it’s the lowest-maintenance and most natural-looking way to fill in sparse/overplucked brows, and it can last for years. The downside is that it requires very specific aftercare, and you’re not allowed to wear makeup for a few days after treatment.

Skin Tone

When we’re talking skin tone, we’re not talking about where you fall on the wide spectrum between snow-white and ebony-black—that’s complexion. We’re talking the difference between warm, cool, and neutral. To determine the true tone of your skin, you will need to look at the skin of your face, not your wrist.

The easiest way to determine your skin tone is to wear gold and silver jewelry, and compare the way it makes your skin look in natural sunlight. If gold makes your skin look grayish or washed out, you have a cool skin tone. If silver makes you look washed out, then you have a warm skin tone. If you don’t notice a difference, then you’re neutral.